Curtis Granderson is going to be playing a lot of center field for the Mets this season. This is a fact that many have already accepted. Curtis Granderson is a guy who has been with the team for a while now, and I have nothing but respect for him as a ballplayer. He shows up every day, plays hard, hits 25-30 HRs, and clearly does a lot for the team’s morale. These are all good things. Does he have any business playing center field on a consistent basis for a team with World Series aspirations; A team that has been built around a dominant pitching staff and a powerful but streaky offense? No fucking way.
Granderson is absolutely not the defender he used to be. Sure, when he was younger, running around in a Tigers uniform, or even for a while with the Yankees, he was a legit outfielder. He still had the speed he was known for when he came up, and although his arm was never elite, he covered enough ground and possessed enough athleticism to get by. His bat has always been his calling card. The power didn’t really show up until he came to the Yankees and started working with Kevin Long, who is now the batting instructor with the Mets, but he has always been a standout at the plate. He struggled for much of the year last season, and still came away with 30 HRs, which is something I would sign up for in a heartbeat this season, as we can expect to have more runners on base when Grandy steps up to the plate. But anybody who has watched Mets games over the past two years and seen Grandy run around right field knows that he is an average right fielder at BEST, which would make him well below average in center.
I saw a tweet the other day (this is proper citation, right?) that basically said projections expect Granderson to be the worst center fielder in baseball this year, and I totally believe it. Tim Tebow has a better arm than him at this point, and did you see him at the NFL Combine in 2010? Dude was throwing ducks all over the place. Sure, he connected with Demaryius Thomas on that TD in overtime against the Steelers in the 2011 AFC Wild Card game, but that was just great play calling and poor tackling by the Steelers. Can Granderson find that kind of luck in the outfield for the Mets? Maybe with Tim Tebow in the Coke Corner sending down some prayers. I wouldn’t rule it out folks.
Let’s also take into consideration that Curtis Granderson is a really good guy. Like, some might even say he is the best guy. He is very active in the community, and does a lot of charity work. Do I have specific examples of this? No, because I’m not a loser who reads about athletes doing charity work, but I know he does a lot of work in Chicago, where he’s from. If you haven’t heard, things are really bad in Chicago right now, so hats off to him. He has also won the Roberto Clemente Award, which if my understanding is correct, only goes to really good guys. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a good guy roaming my outfield, somebody who I know is playing baseball, but his heart is full and his mind is occupied not by the game, but by the good deeds he is going to carry out postgame. Is he the fastest? Not anymore. Does he have a laser arm to throw potential scorers out at home plate? Hardly. But will he show up at your sick child’s fundraiser on a Saturday afternoon in Chicago after playing a game Friday at 1pm in New York? You bet your ass he will. That’s my center fielder. That’s my center fielder.